Having just passed our third year anniversary of Listen & Be Heard Weekly, Tony and I, your publishers, have made some major decisions about how to continue into the future. Those of you who have followed our publication for more than a year will know that we have continued as a weekly on-line, while becoming a monthly in print. We have now decided, after much consideration, to drop the print issue entirely, and focus all of our publishing energy into the website. We will be coming out with one more print issue in January.
With a few thousand unique visitors coming to our site each week, we are confident that those numbers will continue to grow as we continue to offer fresh quality content each week. We don’t collect any personal information about our visitors, but we can see the general geographic location most of the visits come from. Our coverage of arts and entertainment on this side of the Bay Bridge attracts visitors from Oakland, Berkeley, San Rafael, Napa, Sonoma, Benicia, Richmond, Hayward, Fairfield…Vallejo doesn’t even make it in to the top ten cities in California. That says two things to me. One is that we have steadily been attracting new energy to Vallejo. The other is that we know that most of our readers here in Vallejo don’t even look at our website. If that’s you, you have been missing articles, reviews, photos and more that never made it into the monthly print issues.
There is a general trend toward the World Wide Web in newspaper publishing. The largest companies are seeing advertising dollars migrate toward the Web, and have all established on-line publications that are either free or by paid subscription. A fledgling local print publication like ours has a hard way to go competing for those shrinking advertising dollars available for print. But the World Wide Web is a whole new frontier that is growing rapidly and in many directions. I have been a Web enthusiast for more than a decade, and truthfully have no problem with making this transition. I?m looking forward to developing the site, and adding video and audio to the mix. But for those of you who protest, I invite you to spend some time with us at listenandbeheard.net, where we work hard to make navigating the site easy. If you live in Vallejo and don’t have a computer (yet) then I invite you to come in to Listen & Be Heard Poetry Cafe?, at 818 Marin Street in Downtown Vallejo, with a copy of this article and we will treat you to a free half-hour on our internet computer, so that you can try it out.
If you have a subscription to the print issue, you can actually get a free subscription to the website, either by signing up for our weekly e-mail with links to all our fresh content, (you can do this by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “subscribe” in the subject,) or subscribing to our RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feed at feed://listenandbeheard.net/feed.xml.
With this transition, we will also be changing the way we publish our calendars. Cyndi Combs was working until last week, almost full time here at Listen & Be Heard, keeping the extensive weekly calendars up to date. We thank her for the time she spent here, and wish her success in the future. Before leaving she put together a master list of venues from Oakland to Vacaville, and also of recurring events, which are currently all available on-line. In the new year I will be launching a new way to post your events yourself from our site.
As always, I welcome your feedback. I?m going to take a little break next week, so you?ll be hearing from me again in the new year. Until then, wishing each of you Peace and Poetry on this cold December morning.